10 Feb 2008

British Olympic Athletes Face Gag Order

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Sky News:

British athletes competing in this year’s Beijing Olympic Games must sign contracts banning them from talking about politics, it is reported.

Athletes must not mention politics -The clause – inserted in contracts for the first time – mean competitors must not comment on “politically sensitive” issues.

It then refers to the International Olympic Committee charter, which “provides for no kind of demonstration, or political, religious or racial propaganda in the Olympic sites, venues or other areas”.

The ban means athletes cannot discuss issues such as China’s human rights record or Tibet.

Those who refuse to sign-up face not be allowed to compete and anyone breaking the order could be sent home.

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Dominique R. Poirier

What is interesting with these rules is that they constitute an unmistakable – and official! – acknowledgement of disputable practices and domestic policy. That’s tantamount to a honest confession – or to a bullet mistakenly shot in one’s foot.

This should be published as widely as possible; as it tells much more, and is of much greater value, than anything any athlete might say.



T F Stern

We had the same basic stipulation when I worked for the Houston Police Department. You could have all the political opinions you wanted as long as you kept them to yourself. Once you left the employment of the Department you could spout off all you wanted because you were no longer under such an obligation.

Terms of employment, or in the case of Olympic Team Membership are not out of line with reason. You want to play in the game you play; keep your opinions to yourself until later and then talk all you want.



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